Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas
Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
Łowicz folk art called "Wyczynanki" Paper-cuts. Very well known in Poland. Below is one of the nativity scene.
   Polish Christmas carols are one of the most beautiful in the world. Here is one from youtube of the famous Polish Folk Ensemble "Mazowsze" singing "Bóg się Rodzi" (God is born) in Łowicz folk costumes. This is from TV Polonia 1992 in Poland.

Polish Folk Ensemble "Sląsk" sings Silent Night - "Cicha Noc" in Cieszyn folk costumes.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my followers and friends in Canada, Australia, Poland, UK, USA and all others!  Peace to the world.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Kujawski and Dolnośląski

Kujawski maiden and male attire. 7 1/2 inches.
Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft Cooperative dolls.
   A very popular costume in Poland. Kujawia (Ku-ya-via) is an area in North-central Poland borded by Vistula river and is divided into two parts; the prosperous Field Kuyavia and the poorer Forest Kuyavia.
Pink shows main area of Kujawy region, yellow indicates extended areas
where costume was also worn.
  The peak time of Kuyavian costume's popularity was from 1870 till 1914. However, some still wore them for festivals and holidays and many original elements of this costume were stored and preserved, mainly in museums. Many folk dance ensembles wear this costume today also for performing as The Kujawiak is one of Poland's five National dances. (The others are: Polonaise, Mazurka, Oberek and Krakowiak).
Maiden attire on left, married woman on right. 10 inches.
   These dolls I have are made by different manufactures. The two in this photo are: on left; label -"Technoplastyka Cooperative" from Kraków - 1979, the one in right I bought from Poland in 1979, missing label, but I believe this to be from "Milenium" from Kraków. This costume is well known, so finding a Kujawski costumed doll is not so hard.
Photo credit: Stanisław Gadomski  (Strój Ludowy w Polsce)
  The Kujawski dress comes in many varieties, depending both on the time, place and prosperity of people. Most popular colours are in various blue hues, red, green and even pink.
  The most striking part of the married women's clothing was white, embroidered cap (cock) with a cotton cloth or tulle wrapped rolls of silk scarf (kaczorówką). A white shirt with an embroidered collar, a velvet bodice with a cloak of dark blue, sapphire or black cloth, woolen dark skirt and apron of silk or wool with white embroidery. Two embroidered petticoats - white linen and red flannel worn under skirt. 
White embroidered on apron.
   Maidens had a head dress of ribbons laid out in a zigzag pattern, decorated with natural or artificial flowers. A wool vest with red trim. Amber or coral beads completed the outfit.
  Married men wore a black hat on his head or the characteristic cylinder head wider at the top, decorated with peacock feathers. Bachelors headgear was a blue four-cornered hat trimmed with lamb. A red shirt with a white collar, a silk ribbon tied underneath. Navy blue sleeveless jacket, dark wool pants tucked into long boots. A long red sash is tied around the jacket.

   I have posted these dolls before, however I aquired another lady doll, so I wish to give more detail about the costume and region. Dolnośląsk means Lower Silesia, the area is South-west of Poland.
Married woman's attire. "Tradycja Cooperative" 1989. 10 inches
She has a green bonnet with large lace
Dolnośląski couple dolls on left by Andrzej Kaliszewski, Warsaw 2012.  Szklarska Poręba style.
   The Dolnośląsk costume can be divided into subgroups: Wrocław, Kłodzki, Wałbrzyski, Karkonosze, and Jeleniogórski. The most represented of these is from Szklarska Poręba, close to Jelenia Góra by German border. The dolls above I believe to from that area.
Detail of dolls cap. Gold threads, trim and bow.
   The most valuable elements of the traditional clothing of Lower Silesia were their exquisite bonnets. They were one piece, two or three piece, and were made with expensive fabrics like brocade and silks sewn with gold or silver threads, sequins, metallic beads and fine lace trim or even silver chantilly lace. This was the most valuable and costly part of her outfit, used for special occasions and holidays, then stored and locked up in chests. Because of this great care in preserving these bonnets, many have survived and are now in museums for exhibit. No two were alike.
Left: Museum in Jelenia Góra, mid 19th century.  Right: Bonnet from Karkonosze region, Ethnographic museum in Wrocław.
   All parts of the dress outfit were sewn from ready-made fabrics. A shirt, a jacket of expensive fabrics in its cut following the Renaissance fashion, a long and wide skirt of purchased silk, cotton or woollen fabric, and an apron sewn from the same fabric or sometimes of white batiste. Also a white batiste ornamented with flower-patterned whitework embroidery, was worn on the shoulders like a shaw. 
   Men's folk attire was first to disappear and they wore clothes that was fashionable in cities in the 19th century, such as the doll above.
    The costumes from Dolnośląsk region went out of fashion between turn of the century and WWI. Some items, especially the bonnets can be viewed in museums today. A few local dance ensembles wear a reconstructed version based on old patterns.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Mary visits Poland

Mary visits Poland video (1939)

No dolls this time. I found a wonderful video and just had to include it onto my blog. It is a black and white film made in the UK about a girl in class talking about her trip to Poland. Shows the farm life in Łowicz, Krakow city and the mountain region Tatry. Traditional costumes, dances and old customs of by gone days in  pre-war Poland. The girl narrates in English language, filmed by Footage Farm (Educational?) of UK in 1939, just before WWII broke out. Has the title superimposed throughout the film with a timer on bottom, but still very viewable. About 10 minutes.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Jamno (Jamienski)

The Jamno costume
Jamienski (Jamno) married couple.
  Lesser-known costume. I only learned about this a few years ago from a book called 'Poland Folk Costumes" (Polskie Stroje Ludowe) by Elżbieta Piskorz-Branekova. Located north-west of Poland in the Western Pomerania (Pomorze) region. The village is situated between the Baltic Sea and Lake Jamno.
   The first mention of Jamno can be found in the documents back to 1278, when the Cistercian monastery of Koszalin received the patronage of the church in Jamno. Some argue that Jamno has been written about in 1224, but the information is not confirmed. From the mid-eighteenth century to the Second World War, it's population doubled, reaching 779 people.
A 1891 colour lithograph by Aleksandra Kreschmera. A wedding scene.
  The location of villages Jamno and Labusz meant that for most outsiders, access was unavailable. Jamno was the bigger of the two and was located on a hill surrounded by three small rivers and swamp land all around. Only during winter when the swamps froze, people were able to keep in touch with nearby villages and towns. Although Koszalin is just 6 km from Jamno, a road connecting the two towns was not completed until 1899.
Interior of a Jamno cottage with costumed mannequins.
  Until the mid-nineteenth century Jamno remained in a cultural isolation. Their only ties, customs and kinship was with the neighbouring residents of Łabusz (Wa-boosh). Just between the two villages they concluded marriages.
Detail of dolls.  Handmade by Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski. 10 inches.
   The Jamno inhabitants were originally Slavs. In the 17th century there were settlements by newcomers from the Netherlands and Germany, during the Germanization of Pomerania. After World War II, almost all the inhabitants of the village Jamno were displaced. Just a few individuals had passed on their knowledge and skills to future generations. Because they spoke German in the latter years, the Poles considered them to be just that, and have not considered this costume and culture as true Polish. Many artifacts, furniture and tools have made their way into museums in Koszalin and the Jamno village buildings have been preserved into a skansen, an outdoor museum with furnishings.
Jamno wedding outfit.  Collection of the Museum of Koszalin.
   The result of the isolation and combination of Dutch and German elements lead to a unique folk costume, embroidery and paintings because in addition to being beautiful, they were used only by the small Jamno community. The costume is a combination of the local Slavic clothing with that of the new settlers. Most were made from homespun fabrics supplemented by readymade ones. Women wore a black skirt with red binding on the edge, two underskirts, a white linen apron, a bodice, and black  jacket. On her head, a lace cap which was covered with a black bonnet. She wore a fastener and brass or silver plates fastened to a strip of fabric to form a belt, a velvet ribbon with clasp, stockings and shoes. 
Women's woollen bodice in homespun stripped fabric.
   Both the men's vest and women's bodice were red in colour with narrow black, green, yellow and white stripes. Men also made a four cornered hat out of this. To his outfit he had a silk kerchief tied around the collar and a navy-blue or black sukmana (long-coat) with red trim.
Unique painted chair from Jamno.
   These dolls were a special request made almost a year ago. Mr. Kaliszewski said he needed time to do his research on this little-known costume with help from the Warsaw Ethnographic Museum. I must say I am most impressed with the result and accurate attention to detail.  A rare costumed doll indeed! Followers, what do you think - would you say the Jamno costume is more Germanic or Polish?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Dąbrówka Wielkopolska

Dąbrówka-Wielkopolska (Lubuski)
  Lubuski region is the very western area in Poland right by German border. The area is in the Lubuskie Province, Western part of Wielkopolska (Great-Poland). Although many call this costume Lubuski (Lubusz), there were several variations, different in each town. This was a large region so locals called it by the town or area to which the attire was tied to, each had distinct characteristics: Międzyrzecz, Babimost and Dąbrówki Wielkopolskie.

  The two dolls I have are in the married women’s costume from Dąbrowki Wielkopolskie. The Babimost - Międzyrzeczko is a little different. Wish I could find dolls in that variations. The lady in blue I have made about 20 years ago to represent a Wielkopolski costume, the other was special order by Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski, doll makers in Warsaw. Both 10 inches (25 cm).
Historical events account for the fact that the females attire survived until the mid 20th century between the towns of Babimost and Międzyrzecz. It wa most widely used in Dąbrowka and several villages in its vicinity. Men’s costume ceased to be worn at the turn of the century.

Maiden and bachelor. Photo: Folkloristic Group Wielkopolanie (Poznan, Poland)
  Woman’s festive costume consists of tulle bonnet adorned with white-work embroidery worn by married woman and girls wore a garland of flowers crowned over their heads. Small jackets with puffy sleeves for married women, with large flower printed fringed shawls. Large white lace collars that was attachable to front blouse, silk printed/embroidered ribbon to tie the front of bonnet. Skirts were made of homespun or factory-made fabric, plain, and white or dark aprons with the hem trimmed with lace, black boots or shoes. Red glass beads with a pendant cross.
Close up of married woman's bonnet and collar.
There is a wonderful folk ensemble in Poznan that specialize in songs, dances and costumes from Wielkopolska region, as well as other popular areas of Poland. Below is a link of a short song and dance from Dąbrówka-Wielkopolska by "Wielkopolanie" in those costumes. In all my years as a dancer, I have never seen dances from this area, so rare. More info on this group:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Hrubieszow and Opoczno

Doll from Hrubieszów region 
Newest doll, special order from Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski. This is a lesser-know Polish costume. 

Along the very eastern most part of Poland by Ukraine border, an area south of Lublin city. In this region, the costumes of the inhabitants were called Hrubieszów or Tomaszów-Lublin, named so after those larger villages. The clothes were worn in-between the villages of Tomaszów and south of Hrubieszów (Poland), on the territory that stretched in a wide belt between these towns and reached into Ukraine towns of Rawa-Ruska and Sokal. Throughout the centuries these lands were subject to conflicts between Poland and Russia. 
Many in Poland feel this is entirely a Ukrainian costume, but it's not. This dress is a typical example of clothing that exists to similar items of clothing and ornamentation characteristic of both Polish and Ukrainian elements. The impact of both cultures is clearly visible in the peasant attire that was popular in the first years of the last century. Most of these clothes disappeared by second world war, but the beautiful and elaborate embroidered shirts were still common.
Ladies festive costume consisted of a linen or woollen head-scrarf, often red, young girls were bare-headed. A linen blouse with large square cut collar. The sleeves, cuffs and collar were richly embroidered in cross-stitch mainly in black, and later multi-colored, very similar to Ukrainian embroidery, in stars, flowers and geometrical patterns.
Men also had simple clothes made of homespun linen pants, jacket like woman's and very richly embroidered shirt, especially on the front part.
Woman's embroidered linen blouse.
Homespun linen printed skirts were later replaced with factory-made wool ones. Hand-loomed linen aprons were embroidered and decorated with cross-stitch embroidery, fringes were tied in a macrame fashion, as it was 'off the loom'. Most unique in this region was the long jacket, also a homespun cloth in grey-brown colour called "Kurtyka" that was with or without sleeves, worn by both girls and older women. Black boots completed the outfit. 
This image shows a later variation of the costume more fashionable, with factory made materials for skirt, black embroidered apron with lace trim and a colourful embroidered velvet vest. 
Picture: Dancer from Mazowsze Polish Folk Ensemble.

Two Opoczno dolls

I was able to find another two dolls, probably same maker as there is no label or markings anywhere. Excellent attention to detail of costume. Wool striped dress and apron with very tiny cross-stitch embroidery on sleeves with crochet edges. Central Poland, Mazovia (Mazowsze) region, named after largest town there Opoczno. Need to find a guy in this costume.
Close up showing embroidery and crochet on sleeves.
NOTE:  My apologies, I have not been active in the last couple of months, due to trying to obtain more dolls by special order, hunting on the internet, local doll shows, etc. Also I was away in Poland most of August and September. In the next few weeks, I am happy to report that I have several new acquired dolls to post in near future.  Oh goodie  :-D

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

2 New historical dolls

New historical dolls
A health worker (Sanitaruiszka) during the Warsaw Upraising and Polish Jew. Please check in Historical section.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Happy Easter postcards

Happy Easter!
Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych!

I haven't found or received any old or new dolls lately so I am putting up some old postcards with dolls for the upcoming Easter Holiday celebration.
Kurpie-Zielone (Green Kurpie) couple with pisanki, painted eggs.
Łowicz wooden dolls with Easter palm.
These two postcards are from the years 1970-1979 (Edward Gierek era, Polish Peoples Republic.
In those years Communist censors approved holiday cards without religious content. Most were photos of various household items, painted eggs, chicks, cakes, flowers etc. I found these online last year.
Krakowiak guy holding painted Easter egg, WWII.
Very rare card! No inscription, issued by H and B. Christmas and Easter cards issued by General Government formed by the Germans in the occupied Polish territories in the years 1939-1944. These postcards were rarely used by the Poles. In the days of Nazi terror, they avoided the term of 'Happy Holidays' because life was sad and gloomy. They were not up to celebrating it, but remembered and quietly marked the occasion.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

All my Lowicz dolls

All my Łowicz dolls
   This post is on all the Łowicz (Wo-vich) dolls I have collected in the past 30 years. I want to show the different manufactures and makers (with labels), some popular, some lesser known and unknown. Let's start with the dolls by A. & J. Kaliszewski, which I posted last December.
   The Lowicz bridal outfit was not much different than her other decorated dresses. Key difference was, it had to be newly made before the wedding, with as much embroidery and haberdashery as possible and a wedding hat, topped with artificial flowers, lots of ribbons and such. 
Example of bridal hat, photo from Łowicz region.
  This was highly popular from the turn of the century up to WWII. White velvet bodice has later replaced black, to make look more of a bridal wear. After the second war, some villages who kept this tradition, wore the Lowicz dress but replaced the flowered hat with a white tulle veil, just to be on the modern side.
Bottom of label says: Product dolls regional, Andrzej Kaliszewski, Warsaw. 
Lowicz couple newly-wed. Hand-made in Poland. 2012
   Another couple by Kaliszewski's. The woman has a black velvet jacket with bead work, which I actually made for her. The man's white shirt and collar were so yellowed and dirty, I replaced it also. No label but written: From Poland 1972? 
   Another Lowicz doll. This one I was told, was made by Mrs. Kaliszewski's mother. Look at the round stand and label, that was the difference. Her mother made it for a company called: "Co-operative Association of Producers of Handmade Folk & Art Articles", Warsaw. Made in Poland. Dated 1980. Original tag. 9 1/2 inches.

Top: Another bride doll. Fashion from the 50's and 60's. This doll was made in 1971.
Both of these dolls are made by: "The Warsaw Invalids Co-operative".
   Label: "The Warsaw Invalids Co-operative", 1985. I rarely come across these dolls and I believe they were made in the 70's and 80's. No other information on this Co-operative I could find anywhere. They are very well made and are 10 inches each.

   A very nice made Lowicz doll. No label or tag. Got her on e-bay 6 years ago. Nothing on bottom of stand. The maker of this doll is a mystery. I have another one in Opoczno costume, no ID either. Stains and yellowing on sleeves makes her dated, from 70's or 80's ?  Does anybody know???

    This Lowiczan was actually a Cracovian guy transformed. I had a Lowicz table runner that I cut up to use for pants and sash, to keep it in wool stripes. I made this almost 20 years ago as I wanted a Lowicz guy to go with the girls. Hard to find guy folk dolls as they usually come in pairs, but not individual. Doll type is made by The Stanislaw Wyspianski Co-operative.

   Another beauty. She is 10 inches, was a gift from someone in Poland. Sticker on bottom stand says made by: Regional Product Dolls, by Janina Szot, from Kielce city. Address and telephone number. They also come in couples. I know nothing else about this maker, no date.

    Another mystery. Most unusual and lovely couple here, about 8 1/2 inches, comical faces. I found them on e-bay about 5 years ago, and have seen a few more also. Who makes them, where are they from, what city or town ? Blouse and shirt are yellowed and dirty, need replacing, but she has painted embroidery, which I have to remake.
    No label or tag, just a stamp on bottom of stand says "Lowicz dolls" and price. Lots of written numbers and letters, last line - date ? 20-6/69-71. I have no clue what this means. Judging by yellowed cotton sleeves, maybe made in 70's or so. I have no other dolls by this maker, so maybe made in Lowicz town or Warsaw for tourists ? Just my guess, if anyone knows about this maker, contact me!